The last top level event of the year in Men’s Tennis begins this weekend with the Davis Cup Final between Czech Republic and Serbia on the indoor courts of Belgrade. The Czech’s are looking to defend their title after defeating Spain in last years final.
Czech Republic Route To The Final
1R - Czech Republic (Berdych, Rosol, Vesely) 3-2 Switzerland (Wawrinka, Laaksonen, Chiudinelli)
QF – Czech Republic (Hajek, Rosol, Stepanek) 3-1 Kazakhstan (Kukushkin, Golubev, Schukin, Korolev)
SF – Czech Republic (Stepanek, Berdych, Rosol, Vesely) 3-2 Argentina (Monaco, Mayer, Berlocq, Zeballos)
Tomas Berdych was key in helping the Czechs to their first round win with 2 singles victories over Wawrinka and Laaksonen while he and Lukas Rosol came out on top in the record breaking doubles clash against the pair of Chiudinelli and Wawrinka, winning 24-22 in the fifth in a match last just over SEVEN hours.
He wasn’t needed against a weak Kazakhstan team but returned in the Argentina clash to close out the tie after day two and the doubles. The Czech’s proved too strong indoors gaining an unassailable lead after a straight sets victory in the doubles.
Serbia Route To The Final
1R – Serbia (Djokovic, Troicki, Zimonjic, Pashanski) 3-2 Belgium (Goffin, Rochus, Darcis, Bemelmans)
QF – Serbia (Djokovic, Troicki, Zimonjic, Bozoljac) 3-1 United States (Querrey, Isner, B Bryan, M Bryan)
SF – Serbia (Djokovic, Tipsarevic, Bozoljac, Zimonjic 3-2 Canada (Pospisil, Raonic, Nestor)
World No.2 Novak Djokovic led the team in all three of their victories on the way to the final going 5-0 on their way to the final. An extraordinary comeback from the now unavailable Viktor Troicki got the Serbians on their way in Belgium as the tie would be closed out after two days.
A Sam Querrey victory gave the USA hope on day 1 in the quarter finals but any hopes were soon dashed during the doubles with Zimonjic and Bozoljac pulling off a shock win 15-13 in the fifth against the World No.1 team of Mike and Bob Bryan.
The semi finals would go down to the fifth rubber with all hopes lying on the out of form Janko Tipsarevic. However, it would be a surprisingly straight forward win for Tipsarevic winning in straights to add some success to a disappointing season.
Czech Republic – Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Jan Hajek, Lukas Rosol
Serbia – Novak Djokovic, Dusan Lajovic, Nenad Zimonjic, Ilija Bozoljac
1. Novak Djokovic vs Radek Stepanek
2. Dusan Lajovic vs Tomas Berdych
3. Nenad Zimonjic/Ilija Bozoljac vs Jan Hajek/Lukas Rosol (likely to change to Berdych/Stepanek)
4. Novak Djokovic vs Tomas Berdych
5. Dusan Lajovic vs Radek Stepanek
Day 1 looks like it will be very dull with Berdych and Djokovic expected to win both their opening rubbers easily, especially with Lajovic’s lack of success at any level of indoor courts never mind the highest. The decision to play Stepanek seems to offer little upside although the veteran has not played much recently.
While Lukas Rosol and Jan Hajek are scheduled to play the doubles, it seems highly unlikely that will be the actual case especially if the tie is 1-1 after Day 1. Berdych is 18-1 in Davis Cup doubles and the Czech team of Berdych/Stepanek will fancy their chances despite the impressive victory pulled off by the Serbians in their match against the USA. They defeated the same team in the quarter finals last year on their way to a 4-1 victory in the tie.
The doubles and the fourth rubber between the top players on each team will prove decisive with Radek Stepanek a likely victor over Dusan Lajovic in a potential final rubber. Djokovic is 14-2 against Berdych and 5-0 indoors.
The experience and success of the Czech doubles team gives them the advantage here and should they go into Day 3 with a 2-1 lead, it seems highly likely they will be taking their second Davis Cup title in two years.
Prediction – Czech Republic win 3-2 (Berdych def. Lajovic, Berdych/Stepanek def. Zimonjic/Bozoljac, Stepanek def. Lajovic – Djokovic def Berdych, Stepanek)